Turtles made from plastic waste to promote recycling in Lebanon 

News - Turtles made from plastic waste to promote recycling in Lebanon 
Graphic designer Sahar Ghouche walks with her daughter next to a turtle made from plastic caps and bottles in Amchit, Lebanon, June 1, 2023, credit: Reuters/Issam Abdallah

Environmental activist Caroline Chaptini Makhlouf has created an exhibit of turtles made from plastic bottles and caps along the coast of Amchit in Lebanon to promote recycling and raise awareness about endangered sea turtles.

The large turtle sculpture is built with over 250,000 plastic bottles and decorated with colorful caps in a mosaic composition. A smaller turtle, constructed from remaining blue plastic caps, sits nearby.

“We are shedding light on the turtle and why it is about to become extinct. It is dying because of the pollution of plastic and trash bags that we are throwing in the sea,” explained Makhlouf.

“To be honest, I wasn’t an environmental activist before, but when I started not to throw plastic and research more, I got to know that plastic needs more than 10,000 years to dissolve – plastic is very difficult to dissolve, not like paper or wood so I gave this topic a priority, on top of teaching it to the new generation,” Makhlouf said.

More than 3,000 students from different schools participated in collecting the plastic waste used for the project, helping to minimize waste that would otherwise end up polluting the environment. Makhlouf emphasized the project’s goal of promoting recycling awareness in schools and homes.

“Children don’t know, you should be their role model. Now in schools, they are teaching the artistic side of recycling: how to make a vase out of plastic. This wasn’t the case during our times, we used to throw out everything,” said graphic designer Sahar Ghouche, who visited the turtle exhibition with her young daughter.

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